The 4 Keys Of Successful Relationships: What I've Learned From 47 Years Of Counseling Couples

Co-Founder of Inner Bonding By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of Inner Bonding
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, relationship expert, and Inner Bonding® facilitator.

From my own life experiences, and the experiences of the thousands of couples I've counseled over the last 47 years, I've discovered four major keys that are essential for creating and maintaining loving relationships:

1. Learn how to love yourself.

You cannot share your love with your partner if you feel empty inside due to self-abandonment. Loving yourself means taking responsibility for your own feelings rather than making your partner responsible for your pain, joy, and self-worth.

Successful relationships are not accidental.

When you expect your partner to give you the love and attention you are not giving to yourself, you'll try to control your partner, which always creates problems. Your intent to get love rather than give love will never lead to connection and intimacy.

Part of loving yourself is learning to see your own beautiful soul so that you can genuinely value yourself rather than judge yourself. Learning to see your own essence comes from connecting to the truth of your higher self.

We can't see our soul essence through the eyes of our ego wounded self, which has been programmed with many false beliefs about our worth and lovability — beliefs such as I'm not good enough, I'm essentially flawed, I'm inadequate.

2. See and value your partner's soul essence.

When we fall in love, we fall in love with each other’s essence, but in time the ego-wounded self takes over and wreaks havoc on the relationship with control strategies like anger, blame, withdrawal, resistance, and compliance.

This happens because the wounded self has been programmed to “protect” us with different forms of controlling behavior. In relationships, when fears of rejection and engulfment surface, we tend to turn to these programmed strategies to try to gain back control.

We all need to learn to tolerate each other’s wounded self and deeply love and value each other's essence. When the wounded self isn't tolerable — when someone is violent, betraying, or lying — then your partner isn't the right person for you.

3. Be kind with your partner.

Successful partners are very kind with each other. But it's hard to be kind with your partner when you are rejecting and abandoning yourself. The kinder you learn to be with yourself, the kinder you will naturally be with your partner.

Kindness is very different from compliance. Compliance is a form of control — giving yourself up to get love. Kindness comes from a full place within — a place that is filled with self-love that can spill over onto others.

4. Maintain a generous spirit with your partner.

Successful partners have a generosity of spirit with each other. They love to support each other, to have each other's back, and to do sweet things for each other. They are generous with their time, their love and acceptance, and their financial support.

When you can't offer these loving actions to your partner, it's likely because you are not being loving to yourself. This is why loving yourself is number one on this list. In order to see and value your partner, it's absolutely essential to love yourself first.

Start learning to love yourself now by taking my free Inner Bonding course.

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